Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Next Yahoo Executive Shoe–of Many–to Fall?

While it’s corporate sport to focus on the ins and outs of the departure of Terry Semel–was he pushed or did he motor out of Yahoo on his own or, the truth, a little of both?–it’s probably a better idea to look at what will come in the days ahead for Yahoo’s ranks.

Sources tell me that now that Sue Decker has ascended to president from running the Advertiser and Publisher Group, that job, as well as the never-filled Audience Group one (announced by Semel in the last reorg in December), will no longer exist. As in, poof, gone!

Executives under those umbrellas will apparently report up through current ranks to Decker.

That is, except the job of tech head–recently vacated by Farzad Nazem and taken over on an interim basis by new CEO and Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang–which will report directly to Yang. That’s right, for now, Yang will report to Yang.

But what else? First, I would expect there to be more executive departures.


With the drop-off in the display ad business, for example, one wonders if current Chief Sales Officer Wenda Harris Millard is going to be feeling the pressure from on high. Pictured here, she joined Yahoo around the time Semel got there, bringing a lot of advertising experience to the then-flimsy ad efforts.

While she definitely raised the game at Yahoo, results are results. Also vulnerable is Gregory Coleman, Yahoo’s executive vice president of global sales.


And, it is important to underscore the need to raise morale at Yahoo and attract dynamic new employees. The mood at the company has been, shall we say, glum, and that falls in the purview of Libby Sartain, Chief People Yahoo, an annoyingly cute way of saying she runs human resources. (She is pictured here.)

Now, I don’t find many companies where the HR head is beloved, but Sartain does attract an unusual amount of ire from some in the company for not being as supportive as one might hope.


But the real issue won’t be those leaving with a bit of a push, but those who want to get out while the getting is good. The departure of major execs, shown here, like Marco Boerries (right), the executive vice president of the Connected Life Division, and the more high-profile Jeff Weiner (left), who is executive vice president of its Network Division, would be a blow.

While it is not likely either will bolt soon–and it is critical for Yahoo to hold onto as many top execs as they can right now–they are ripe pickings for any aggressive Internet company looking for leadership.


And what of Brad Garlinghouse, shown here, the man who seemed to set this whole conflagration, when he penned the now legendary “Peanut Butter Manifesto.”

That four-page memo struck a nerve inside and outside the company when it became public late last year, as it called for an overhaul of Yahoo management, a resetting of priorities and pointed out cleverly that the company had spread itself too thin. (Get it? Peanut butter? Spread thin?)

Given his role as the one whose recommendations have seemingly come to pass and then some (“Existing business owners must be held accountable for where we find ourselves today–heads must roll,” he wrote), it’s likely Garlinghouse’s job is pretty sticky.

Please see this disclosure related to me and Google.